Thursday, June 5, 2014

Obama's Somewhat Misguided Focus On Football Head Injuries

Last week, President Obama held a so-called summit to address serious sports related injuries but, clearly, the primary focus was on professional football.  In fact, in January, he said that, if he had a son, "I wouldn't let him play pro-football."

What the President should have said is that he wouldn't let his son, or daughters, ride a bike.  There are approximately 500,000 E.R. visits per year for bicycle related injures.  Of those visits, 85,000+ are serious head injuries and roughly 600 result in death.  Far greater than the near 47,000 head injuries related to football each year.  Also, cycling injuries are more than double that for baseball and softball (38,000+) and the President's favorite, basketball (34,000+).

At the same time, he would have had to ground his own daughters had they been so inclined as to participate in cheerleading.  That activity is responsible for nearly half of all female catastrophic accidents: head injuries and fractures causing paralysis, and even death.

Then, too, amateur and professional boxing is a sport that has been known for decades to contribute to long-term brain damage.

While we should applaud the President for the "summit" being held, it should have been more broadly focused to also include some of the less popular sports -- both amateur and professional -- that can produce even more concussions than football.  As usual, however, Obama wants to ride on the back of any current hot-button issue in the national headlines, and essentially ignoring the real responsibilities of his job. Considering all the challenges facing the U.S. and the rest of the world, this summit should have been conducted by his Surgeon General.  Of course, he once again thought he could score some political points by personally showing he cares; even though that caring probably won't result in any significant improvement in this nation's overall head injury stats.  And, as far as pro-football is concerned, I can see the player's lawsuits resulting in a greater impact on how the game is played than the latest presidential photo-op.


Obama to host a White House summit on growing concerns over sports head injuries:

President Obama: I wouldn't let my son play pro football:

American Association of Neurological Surgeons: Sports-Related Head Injury Statistics:

Cheerleading accounts for more than half of ‘catastrophic’ injuries to female athletes:

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